Not every one of us is trained or certified project managers, but we manage different projects day-in day-out. When you think of your job description, there is a chance that you have a team that juggle different tasks, and you as the team lead help them to meet deadlines and organize their work flow. At the end of the day, all you want is an improvement in your bottom line.
Whether you are a small business owner or you work for a big conglomerate, there are so many things to keep track of. In today’s highly dynamic business environment, jobs are constantly changing, and we need to constantly improve our skills; otherwise, we will run out of business. Alas! We need professional help to help keep tab of today’s reality. We need software that will help us manage all our day-to-day activities.
Microsoft Office 365 is a must-have project management tool if you must stand out from the crowd. This tool improves team collaboration and most organizations across the world rely on it for their daily operations.
In this post, we will walk you through the capabilities of Office 365 and how to use its associated tools. We will use our Microsoft consulting experience to explain how to use each tool to address different project management tasks.
Sounds good, right?
Then let’s get started.
Office 365: Core Tools To Manage Tasks And Projects
Office 365 comes with a number of project management tools. The list includes:
- Outlook Tasks
- Project Online
- SharePoint task lists
Planner is a project management tool that lets teams easily manage their public and private task buckets. Users can create tasks, follow up on the tasks, prioritize tasks, as well as get an instant progress report. Planner also allows team members to use the SharePoint library to collaborate, schedule projects in the team Calendar, comment on project tasks in Outlook, and take notes in a team OneNote notebook.
Strengths: Users can easily manage their tasks and projects. It comes with a nice visualization; thus, enabling teams to get a clear snapshot of their projects. Planner integrates with Microsoft Teams for a better collaborative environment.
Weaknesses: While seasoned project managers admit that Planner is a great tool for managing smaller projects, they fear that managing and supervising large projects with it may be a problem.
SharePoint Project Task Lists
Microsoft Office 365 subscribers can also use SharePoint Online through SharePoint Task Lists to manage their projects. SharePoint Task Lists enables teams to create a list of their tasks, sub-tasks, and distribute responsibilities to team members. Aside from these capabilities, SharePoint Task Lists also lets users to assign resources and manage tasks without any hassles. What’s more? It lets users benefit from Outlook calendar and use a project notebook.
Strengths: Task Lists offers more capabilities when combined with integrated with Project Online.
Weaknesses: Users cannot add multiple timelines within one task list. To bring several timelines together, teams need extra developmental efforts. To handle larger projects, customization is required and it’s a must-have.
Project Online is a portfolio management tool that helps teams and organizations to handle different projects. It is available in three plans – Essentials, Professional, and Premium. All three plans target different groups of users. At its core, it offers task scheduling and project planning, reporting features, resource management, and much more. Project Online is the most powerful tool in Office 365 suite.
Strengths: This tool can handle various projects for both experienced project managers and ordinary employees.
Weaknesses: Only trained and skilled employees or users can handle this project management tool. New team members need to be trained before they can use Project Online.
Outlook Tasks is perfect for teams and employees that want to manage their activities directly from their email app. This tool will allow you to keep track of all your projects. You can also follow your calendar grid to view tasks and also share tasks with team members.
Strengths: When couples with Outlook Groups, Outlook Tasks becomes more powerful for project management. Teams can easily collaborate on the tool and share ideas to scale out.
Weaknesses: Project managers would have to put more effort to arrange their tasks. Tasks can look messy as entries increase.
To-Do is a personal management tool that is intended to replace Wunderlist, which Microsoft acquired in 2015. To-Do allows users to easily manage different types of tasks, whether business or private-related. Project managers can create task lists, set notification, and make UI changes. To-Do integrates with Outlook Tasks for employees to synchronize their tasks with their inbox.
Strengths: To-do is an easy to use personal management tool. Users can prioritize their activities, whether in a group or individually.
Weaknesses: It lags behind Wunderlist. Users will find it difficult to share tasks with other team members. Users will also find it difficult to create sub-tasks and reports.
Extra Options For Office 365
It may not be enough for teams to manage projects using specific tools, especially for teams looking for dynamic collaboration. As such, Office 365 users may consider using extra options like SharePoint project sites and Office 365 Groups. These tools can add collaborative touch to your projects and activities. What’s more? Users can combine SharePoint project sites and Office 365 Groups to enrich their inbox. They can also share a calendar and use team notebooks without any hassles.
Okay, that’s it. You can now see the numerous capabilities of Office 365 for project management. The tools to leverage will largely depend on your specific tasks and project management needs. It also depends on your collaboration preferences and team size.
If you have a small team and you do not need advanced features, you can take advantage of Microsoft Planner and Team Features. However, if you are passionate about project management, Project Online and SharePoint project sites are a must-have.
And one more thing
What do you think about Office 365 and its numerous capabilities? Let us know in the comment box.